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Authors: Kate Crash

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BOOK: Plush
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16

8:15pm. We’re on stage behind a curtain. There’s a full crowd and people fighting to get in. Annie has been hyping us really freakin’ big. I feel like I could throw up, except I haven’t eaten all day. This is the moment that everything could change, and we all know it.

Jack can’t stop jumping off of high things. We’re train wrecks of glee and uncertainty. I down a beer, smoke a cigarette. The lights go dim. Donnie is in position, shirtless, sweating, freshly tattooed arms still red and stinging from the ink needles speaking ink to skin. Jack throws on his guitar, eyes twitching. I throw down my cigarette as the red velvet curtain raises. Jack’s guitar is feeding back; Donnie starts drumming; the magic of the world unfolds.

Riots in the audience. I’m jumping, screaming, dancing. Men are devouring me with their eyes. People are crowd-surfing and chanting our names. Annie is laughing with men in suits on the side of the stage. The power, the thunder, the strobes, the dance, the wickedness, the laughter, the pain, the devastation: everything, all in one, rolls out of me in these songs. I am what I’ve always wanted to become.

Hands clapping. Kids screaming. Sweat in my eyes. Lipstick smearing. Last song of the five-song set. THE LOOK. The newest one. Jack starts; I sing. Annie is jumping. I’m in a trance; I’m the first and the last. Yes, for the first time I feel beautiful. And ok, yes, this is what I always wanted: some understanding of what this world is and my place in it and what it all means. My voice just says everything I’ve been holding inside:

“T
he look in your eyes possesses me, yes I’ll do anything
,

be anyone you want me to be, make me, make me, me”

My arms wrap around Jack’s as he solos. Then, I’m on his shoulders with the mic in my hand, singing over the world, singing at the pain, the glory; I’ve never been so high, so tall, so good, so it all…

The end of the song comes with the thrashing of the drums; Jack and I fall into the cymbals, smashing his guitar and our broken hearts into the dream of us. I am beautiful. Heart pounding. Numb. Curtain comes down. Annie runs up. “That last song is a hit. Meet Nigel. He’s head A&R…”

I can’t remember what came next. I was tired, sweating, and burning in the fires of myself; Jack’s arms were my wings; This fat, balding, British ex-pat was signing us, and we’re moving to L.A. to make an album. Yes, the dream is true.

And I pass out in Jack’s arms out of exhaustion and overwhelming love and devotion for the music and lack of blood sugar from lack of food. And the next thing I know, I’m first-class on a plane to Hollywood. The birth of a star. The death of a child.

Jack & Hayley 4ever

This is PLUSH.

Welcome.

Welcome home to your new life.

The birth of a star.

The death of a child.

Jack & Hayley 4ever

This is PLUSH.

Welcome.

Welcome home to your new life.

17
    April 16, 2006

HelL.A. HELL – A. Everyday digging my shallow grave.

I wake up with 15 half-or-full-moon naked bodies laying around me on the floor like lost puzzle pieces, each to a different photo. Jack, Donnie, and me are in a single room apartment on Lexington and Vine, the old 20’s building that Joe Dellasandro – one of Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame superstars – runs. It’s brick, broken down, full of the broken and people, like Charlie Chaplin: a guy who dresses, moustaches, canes, walks, and lives his life believing that he is really Chaplin. Crazy birds squawk in the 12-o-clock sun. Empty booze bottles and leftovers of orgies, gone.

Across the street out the window you can see black-lacquered, shiny caskets being wheeled into the Armenian church / dance hall / funeral home like an endless freeway of black-veiled death. The sidewalks are blanketed with homeless, cartoon, stroller-pushing junkies shitting on the grass, pissing in the potted plants, and stealing bikes and shit. We’re on the fourth floor. My body aches everywhere. We’re a third of the way into recording our first album. Someone is knocking at the door. No one opens it.

The knob turns anyway.

Annie made herself keys. Tall, skinny, slutty, and powerful, her hands are full of things that she leaves on the counter. She drags us up by our limp arms and leads us to three coffee cups: “You’re late! Time to record. Lets roll!”

The producer, Nikolai Egg aka “La Egg,” is bringing in a potential new band member – Diego – which is why we’re starting so early. The golden rule of rock-n-roll is “nothing before noon.” I think yesterday may have been my 18
th
birthday. But who counts days anymore?

Over the hill and through the woods of Laurel Canyon, down a quiet little street, and back behind a house, the fancy studio turned from an 8-car garage awaits. La Egg is already working with a blonde, tall, blue-eyed puppy of a fox. In his Russian, Swedish, British, hodge-podge, world-traveler accent, Nikolai Egg laughs:

“Gang… meet Diego. Diego, meet the crazy squad…”

Jack looks Diego up and down – red cords and pale blue shirt – and frowns. Jack has been dubbing the bass in after and feels threatened that he can’t continue doing everything. He points, then spits sarcastically: “Well go ahead then. Play why don’t you, monkey pretty-boy?”

Diego does a few incredibly fast arpeggios on his liquid-red bass to warm up, but Jack just rolls his eyes: technical doesn’t necessarily equate to passionate and playing the right things and holding back when you need to hold back.

“LETS DO THIS!” Jack woofs. Donnie jumps on the drums, and we hit our latest song. The bass is right in the pocket so sweet, and there is no question after that. Diego is ours. He’s got the groove and is really fucking hot. I am definitely fucking him tonight. All suited up like a square, Nigel sits in the corner listening and telling us about all of the money we’re going to make.

Take after take. More in time. Looser. Nik is nice. Nikolai Egg knows what to do, but man is it hard to do. Try this; do that. Hayley, sing more in pitch. More emotional. Sing softer; sing louder; feel it; dream it; mean it. Endless takes for that one, right moment when it all flies just right. Every day, 16 hours straight of singing, smoking, dancing, and take after take. I had no idea being a musician was this MUCH work, but I am learning so much. It’s teaching how to harmonize with myself and use my falsetto and more magicians tricks for more full choruses. Not that we didn’t know a lot from practicing almost every day back at home in our garage; it’s just never been this picked apart.

And it’s wild good times to be doing music every freaking second. No school. No teachers. No dad. No NOBODY getting in the way of who I am and what I want! I could do this forever and never get sick of it. Jack and I forever: making our art, interpreting each other’s dreams, crowd surfing. For dinner, we go to strip clubs. Donnie wants to hit them all. “Jumbos” has the paraplegic trannies siphoning quarters outside, or we hit up the flying pole-dancers of alien erotic burlesque or “Crazy Girls,” where the girls are bitchy as hell and try to get Jack in their pants in hopes of paid rent. They have these gross, endless, stale buffets. Fried chicken and cheap champagne. La Egg lunches/munches/eats in the studio and adjusts sounds. We play. I’ve seen more titties shaking then a fucking gyno doctor or a lesbo bra designer.

Then I have to go back to the studio. Sometimes alone. Most times with Jack. At 10pm when drums can’t be recorded anymore due to neighbors complaints, Don-nie goes and go-go dances, while I do vocal takes. He leaves in shiny, gold, metallic, cracker thongs at the gay-boy clubs in WeHo. Rasputin. The Abbey. You name it; he thrusts it. He’s paying our rent. He fucks more women then 50 cent. He gets a new tattoo every week. I don’t know what I ever saw in him and am a little embarrassed I ever fucked him and that we used to be a “we.”

Late at night when I have to do the vocal tracks, Jack likes to sit in the room with me. Sometimes he holds my hand when I sing. It’s scary to be on the mic so alone and raw and vulnerable like that: all your success dependent on your voice and your notes and your style, mood, and sway. Nobody knows it but something that gnaws at me in the middle of the night is the idea that I am not a great artist and my music won’t move people. This fear jaguar-creeps in when I have to sing on the mic or make up parts and I have to push through it every time I open my mouth and I just pretend that I’m someone I’m not. The stage persona Hayley who’s strong and sexy. You can’t see how easy it would be for me to break. But Jack is my strength.

At three or four or five am when we’re done, we go to after-parties at Lord Percy’s house. Lord Percy has a harem of skinny women and femmie boy-men, plays crazy, electronic music, dances with faux-fur-arm’d bikini women, and always tries to bed me. I’ve really learned to let myself go.

Sing, smoke, dance:
this is fucking L.A
.

18

The mouse is disappearing.

I am finishing up with lalalala La Egg in the studio, doubling some chorus vocals on ‘The Look.’ I’m going to text Diego. Tonight’s the night. Those blue eyes are mine! He’s been doing good in the band – coming to the parties and holding my purse. Following me around doey-eyed-puppy-dog style. It’s kind of like having a hot slave who’s sweet and charming. And tonight… well, Jack left early, so he can’t stop me! Phone texting:

Me:
Diego you free 2nite?

Diego:
yes why?

Me:
can you pick me up?

Diego:
leaving now
.

I walk out the studio and sit by the pool. Palm trees suck on stars reflecting in the water. I dip my feet in. I could live and die like this. This is what everybody wants. But I want some candy too. But where? Jack usually provides.

At a party I met this crazy pop producer called “BB BIONK” who does almost all of the boy bands and wears faux antelope antlers on his head. Man, producers are fucking crazy. Shove someone in a windowless box called a studio for 18 hours a day, seven days a week for life and you’d understand why they’re so freaky sometimes. Antelope horns? Every producer I’ve met at a party here has always been a little off. BB was telling me about all the drive-through drug spots in Downtown. I type in my phone:

Me:
BB! Whattup?

BB:
no ur not fat enough. I wouldn’t say yes if ur trying 2 fuck me 4 a track

Me:
HAHAHA antler man! NICE EGO!

BB:
indeed. Big enough 2 match my antlers

I hear a car in the driveway. Must be Diego.

Me
: no I was wondering about the drive thru drug spots downtown

BB:
Coke, Speed, or Heroin?

I put my shoes back on. The moon is so full; it looks like it could drop from the sky.

Me:
maybe speed. 4 a change

BB:
6
th
and Bonnie Brae at the laundromat
.

Me:
thanks chubby chaser!

BB:
Enjoy!

Diego is standing tall, waiting at the passenger door of his little yellow coup-soup car, and opens it for me as I walk up. Now this is what I call service. As I get in, I brush his leg on accident. He looks like he’s still working out his image. He’s wearing bellbottom pants but a button-down, disco-silver, lycra, 90’s club shirt too.

“You look beautiful tonight, Hayley. How was the rest of recording?” He’s so shy; he’s looking down at his bellbottoms. He obviously is trying very hard, and I think he accidentally put a little too much cologne on.

Me: “Poetic. Destructive. Listen, you got 20 bucks on you?”

Diego, without flinching: “Yes, just picked up my bagel paycheck today.”

I kiss him on the cheek and ruffle his hair.

“Where to Madame?”

Me: “6
th
and Bonnie Brae.”

The freeway to downtown is a winding death sentence of neon love, flutters, and anticipation. I love the tall buildings, the endless people, the endless cars; if you don’t like someone, there is always someone new to find, unwind, or fuck. Nothing like McAllen at all. I feel the hope and death and dream in every step and in every seam of pavement endless pavement.

Diego puts on the ‘Timeto Pretend EP’ that just came out by MGMT – who’s touring, opening for Of Montreal. We turn it up and roll the windows down. I scream, put my arms – now wings – out the window, and pretend to fly at the speed of the endless L.A. freeways. “This is our decision, to live fast and die young. We’ve got the vision; now let’s have some fun.” Trash thrashes around. Dead tired-up dogs. Burning birds. Remnants of the crash. Paper ash. Glitter smog. Big, bad pain and fun. Always fun.

We take the 3
rd
street exit off the 110 and go up.

“Diego… So when we get there, you’re just gonna drive up next to the closed laundromat, some guy will come up to the window, and you just hand him 20 and he’ll hand you a baggy.”

His eyes go back, and his mouth tucks. “Um Hayley… What exactly are we getting? Um…” He is trying to hide his innocent boy and look like he knows what’s up. But he doesn’t, nor will he ever.

“No worries, Diego… We’re gonna have an amazing night… You wanna stay up all night and fall off the world with me for a bit? I grab his thigh, close to his cock. This seals the deal.

We pull up. This is the drive-through McDonalds for drugs. A lanky, tall, pocked-face Central American comes up. Diego holds out the dough his hand, shaking like mice on a vibrating plate, and the man snatches it in a high five, leaving jaw-dropped Diego with the baggy. The guy walks back against the bright blue-green-and-pink bubbles painted on the laundromat wall and puts his foot up, leaning back Dean style. Diego looks down at the baggy, then at me, then at the baggy.

“Go, Diego, go!” I say, and he throws the drugs at my feet and speeds away with a shriek.

“It’s cool Diego. Baby. Nothing to worry about!” Me. I pull a light bulb out of my purse, take out the silver part, and clean out the white stuff on the bulb until it’s clear – I did this for the first time at an after-party with Jack last week, which I can’t fully remember. Diego’s hands are still shakey at the wheel. “Wh-wh-where to Hay-ley?” he stammers.

BOOK: Plush
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